I’m happy to report that my Stanley No. 4 is serving me quite well these last few weeks. I love using it and it seems to love being used. I’m learning its inticracies, such as what happens when the chip breaker is closer or further from the blade, and how moving the frog to open or close the mouth affects the plane’s operation. I think I find myself thinking up reasons to use it. I guess that’s not a bad thing because it really is very useful and for the things I use it to do, it probably is the best tool.
I was so encouaged by this, that I dug out my old Stanley 110 block plane and decided to see what I could do with that. I got it at a flea market for a few bucks last year. I had no idea what I was buying, and in checking into it since then, I realize it’s not the best plane in the world, but more than a few people seem to have certain affinity for it.
I mainly used the 110 any time I had a nice piece of wood that I wanted to ruin by tearing out small random chunks of wood fiber. I would then use it as a test of how fast I could throw a heavy metal object into the back of a tool drawer.
But now I’m an experienced hand plane reviver. I went to work on the blade, getting it nice and scary sharp. And then did some work on the sole. I didn’t try for perfection here, just a decent reference surface. Otherwise, the plane was in great shape. Really clean, no rust to speak of.
So, after all that, put it to some wood and, wow! I was getting shavings. It’s no No. 4, but I can actually do stuff with it. I’ve even used it here and there where I wanted to clean up some spot that the No. 4 would be overkill on, or some rougher spot that I wanted to clean up before final smoothing. I’m pretty happy with it.
I still need to learn a bit more about how to adjust and use it. I’ve found I get the best results if I loosen the blade lock, lay the plane on a flat surface and let the blade just touch that surface with its own gravity, then tighten it up. With that, it seems to cut pretty well. If I try to push it out any further at all, it just digs in to the wood.